“When all else fades one thing remains: Your love is still pursuing me.” – Daniel Gonzales, Celebration Church
Getting out of the car we smelled the scent of pine that enveloped the area. Dad and I enjoyed the tree hunt, and I of course picked out the fullest, greenest, and awesome-est tree for his budget. I would tell him the one I’d chosen, the lumber guy would take it to trim the trunk and nail the base, we’d strap it to the top of the car, my dad would hand the guy a $5 tip, and we’d proudly drive home listening for any movements on the roof. If, for some reason, my noble expertise wasn’t provided and, for some odd reason, Mom would assist Dad, then we would definitely get something less than par. One bare side would be missing a large portion of branches and most likely the tree was pitifully leaning to one side; we debated which side needed the wall’s cover the most. This tree would also probably be the cause of old childhood ornaments falling and breaking off of unstable branches. And, every now and then, it would likely be too small to stand proud on the ground and reach the ceiling, to which Mom would grab a side table, drape it with Christmas cloth, and attempt to fit presents around the legs. This tree would desperately need, as we learned to withhold our critiques and complaints, my mother’s unashamed and unconditional love. Continue reading →
I've tried to leave this post just as it was originally written because it was a heartfelt response after a very traumatic experience. But I'm sometimes clumsy with words and even when I think I am writing clearly, there is always the reader who doesn't know my heart or doesn't hear the words the way they were intended.
With a handful of reed, I stuffed the wire guide to contribute to the 9-year old boy’s remade house. Immediately after the church service, just two days after arriving in Mozambique, members of the Celebration Church campus in Xai Xai head out to Jose’s house upon finishing lunch. Ladies with babies strapped to their backs hold a huge bundle of reed on their heads, grasping them with their hands to hold it balanced. Franco, originally from South Africa and the white minority in the church, utilizes his construction talent to fix the roof on this rebuild. We all take turns doing various jobs, and no one stops until the house is complete. The next few days even have their own construction project of building a kitchen for the church with a similar construct as the reed house–manually manufacturing cement for the floor and an open flame oven, building walls from scratch–then later, fixing a broken wall of another campus. All components of each project took every person who helped work to do so. Everyone was tired, but no one was miserable. People helped each other, conversed, and when a hand was needed one or two pairs of hands were always right there contributing. Whereas ‘serving’ is something that Americans have to think about and praise themselves for, Mozambicans just considered it life–not one effort to a thought was even made on the manner. Though we saw this as part of our “mission trip”, they saw it as Monday through Wednesday–nothing out of the ordinary except for a few Americans with t-shirts that said “Celebration Church“. We made conversation and learned about the people who would later etch their names in our hearts, forming the beginnings to relationships more akin to family–working never seemed so joyful!
Perhaps my greatest lesson was the one I hadn’t expected–ministry begins, not preaching behind a pulpit, but with a shovel in your hand. Continue reading →
Thanks to the author of the article, Russ Jones, ReligionToday.com mentioned this blog post made last week–“What Should We Make of the ‘God Particle’ Discovery?”
Regarding the amazing find of the Higgs Boson particle, many people see it as a way of disproving God. The idea that any aspect of the physical universe we can’t explain naturally must by necessity be “God” explained has been the false presumption by many theists. Therefore, new discoveries such as this are yet backfiring to such theistic claims–furthering the idea that there must be no God. However, this situation simply expresses the flaw of many theists who argue God’s existence in the gaps of our scientific finds–only showing atheism to be the perspective for those who wait for a better natural answer, while theists are shown to be the anxious ignorants. The problem is that our idea of God is all wrong–completely even! If there is one unique aspect of the Gospel message, it is that God is not the cop-out answer for that which we don’t know, He is the God of revelation. He isn’t the God of the gaps, but the God of completion.
Christians shouldn’t be scared of anything that seems to prove God out of the picture. Continue reading →
I still have the sunburn as a trophy to remind me of the awesome Easter service we participated in this year. While my wife played a pivotal role in the sanctuary with the volunteers’ kids, I spent the entire morning and afternoon on the hill with 1,000 other volunteers. Easter on the Hill at Celebration Church was from start to finish a God-anointed event. From the moment Celebration Church got the call from Tim Tebow‘s representatives that he would be interested in speaking, the plans for Easter changed. No longer would they be deciding how to approach the upcoming celebration of Christ’s victory over death in their sanctuary, but reconsidered preparations by dropping to their knees in humble prayer. Perhaps this call was the response Celebration Church received after saturating their spirits in fasting and prayer at the beginning of the year. In January members of the church all had the same conviction–God was going to bring His power and transform the church in a new and mighty way–though the staff and pastors had yet to make specific plans.
Easter Sunday of 2012 has been the most unique and unorthodox service I have ever been a part of, or even attended. Various people dressed in costumes and had interacted with the people awaiting the service in a Woodstock-like fashion (of course, without the clouds of smoke). Recognizable characters such as Elmo (who “Tebowed” with some kids), Woody and Jesse (Toy Story), Football players, Snow White, Mr. Incredible (The Incredibles), and a few others all made the people feel comfortable and at home. Although they primarily served to bring a smile to everyone’s faces, what made them indirectly part of the ministry was the simple message that said, “Come as you are!” This was the entire thrust of Jesus’ ministry. He never established a building and “invited people to church”, but brought the Kingdom to them!Continue reading →
You have no idea how much I KNOW that I haven’t posted a complete article in such a long time. Believe me, I literally have 80 drafts written on various convictions for necessary articles to be written. Yet, finding the time to sit down and write and those thoughts flow has not been happening.
Anyway, I decided to design a shirt. It’s simple and conveys the irony that I think we can all see in our Church community. Too often do we tend to proclaim the Gospel on a superficial level, rather than bear the cross on a daily basis. We find it easier to wear a gold chain with a polished cross or hip clothing with a Bible verse, modern apparel that is supposed to “evangelize” what is supposedly the conviction by which our lives are defined. I’m tired of it, and just want all this fake Christianity to go away. Well, this shirt is my stab at it…hope you like it!
If you want to order it, you’ll have to click the link to go to the actual website for it. I’m really not trying to make a profit (not much commission made anyhow), but rather thought anyone with the same attitude as myself may like to wear it.